Dear Church Family, THANK YOU AGAIN: In last week's e-note, I told you that the previous weekend's offering (August 11-12) was the largest of the year. That information is now incorrect. This past weekend's offering (August 18-19) is now the largest of the year. We have completely caught up on our July shortfall, and contributions are once again in excellent shape through this part of the year. So again, thank you for your generosity. SLI UPDATE: On September 10th, our SLI group will present a first rough draft of our MAP (Ministry Action Plan) to a small group of leaders for their input. After that, the SLI team will make adjustments and then share the revised MAP with a broader group of leaders. Before the end of the year, the final approved version of our MAP will be shared with the entire congregation. As noted before, our MAP will not be a long range strategic plan (for example, building new buildings and beginning new programs). Instead, the MAP will articulate our core values, mission and vision. It will also include important intentional and strategic plans for 2013. Most important, it will begin building a new culture based on strong ministry teams that are rooted in our core values, mission and vision. Over time, each major ministry team in our church (children, youth, music, discipleship, evangelism, missions and outreach, etc.) will develop their own specific MAP (Ministry Action Plan) that will be connected to the primary MAP we'll lay out this year. All of these MAPS will continually evolve as we seek to be faithful to God in our community in a constantly changing world. This SLI work is a slow
paced, team centered process, but eventually it will have a profound impact on BUMC. I promise to keep you in the loop as we continue on the SLI journey. PONDERINGS: Many of you read Bishop Joe Pennel's excellent short articles called "Ponderings." I always enjoy reading them. His article last week was especially thoughtful, so with his permission, I'm including it in this e-note. To read "Ponderings" on a regular basis, go to our website at www.bumc.net/ponderings. PONDERINGS: ON GOD BEING IN CONTROL It is not uncommon to hear people say "Do not worry God is in control." Does that mean that we can give God credit or blame for any and everything that happens? Does it mean that we do not have to be responsible for our lives? Does it mean that there is a divine reason for everything that happens in the day to dayness of everyday life? Does it mean that we are like puppets whose thoughts and actions are controlled by the Almighty? I am slow to understand what is meant by such talk. The first chapter in the Bible offers a different view. The book of Genesis says that we, as humans, are to have dominion over all living things (Genesis 1:26-27). God has given humankind the responsibility to "be in charge." We are people of free will who are to use our minds and gifts to have careful and loving dominion over all things. God has not relieved us of our responsibility to care for the earth, for each other and for ourselves. God has entrusted us with that duty. I recently heard of a family whose son committed suicide. Some well-meaning person said, "Do not worry God is in control." I do not believe that God was in charge of that which made this person take his life. Rather I believe that God cried when that young man pulled the trigger.
Much of the pain that is in the world is because we, as the human family, have not learned how to practice love for creation and for each other. Why we want to shift the responsibility to God is... WORTH PONDERING Joe E. Pennel Jr., Pastor ANOTHER FIRST: I've experienced many "firsts" since arriving at BUMC. Sunday afternoon at the annual picnic, I have had another one. It was my first experience ever being in a dunking booth. Many children and youth enjoyed dunking their pastor. Even my wife managed to dump me in the pool! Anyway, it was a lot of fun. Every week, I find myself falling more in love with the good people of BUMC. It truly is a joy to be your pastor. Finally, it was good to receive the following eight new members: Katherine Getsay, Luke Hancock, Caroline Stoneking, Jason and Katie Markey, Eric Motsenbocker, and Nancy and Robert Motsenbocker. Welcome to our church family. In Christ's Love and Service,